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Checklist: How to create a safer neighbourhood

Do you want to make your community a safer place for everyone? Whether you’re one person, a group of concerned neighbours or part of a community association, there are steps you can take to create a safe neighbourhood. The following approach is based on the SARA model:


  • Identify recurring problems of concern to the public and the police.
  • Identify the consequences of the problem for the community and the police.
  • Prioritize those problems.
  • Develop broad goals.
  • Confirm that the problems exist.
  • Determine how frequently the problem occurs and how long it has been taking place.
  • Select problems for closer examination.


  • Identify and understand the events and conditions that precede and accompany the problem.
  • Identify relevant data to be collected.
  • Research what is known about the problem type.
  • Take inventory of how the problem is currently addressed and the strengths and limitations of the current response.
  • Narrow the scope of the problem as specifically as possible.
  • Identify a variety of resources that may be of assistance in developing a deeper understanding of the problem.
  • Develop a working hypothesis about why the problem is occurring.


  • Brainstorm for new interventions.
  • Search for what other communities with similar problems have done.
  • Choose among the alternative interventions.
  • Outline a response plan and identifying responsible parties.
  • State the specific objectives for the response plan.
  • Carry out the planned activities.


  • Determine whether the plan was implemented (a process evaluation).
  • Collect pre– and post–response qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Determine whether broad goals and specific objectives were attained.
  • Identify any new strategies needed to augment the original plan.
  • Conduct ongoing assessment to ensure continued effectiveness.

If you would like to know more about creating a safer neighbourhood, connect with Crime Prevention Ottawa at cpo@ottawa.ca.

For more information, visit the Centre for Problem-Oriented Policing website.
The Winnipeg Committee for Safety’s Crime Prevention Binder also provides excellent guidance for planning safe neighbourhoods.